Living with Imperfection

It all started with the table. I ordered it from a manufacturer down in North Carolina and waited weeks for it to arrive. When it finally came, I examined it closely. The Formica top was multicolored and didn't show any imperfections. Then I examined the dark brown strip around the sides. And I saw it. One of the corners was chipped! A brand new table! How could I tolerate a less-than-perfect acquisition? Especially one that I waited so long to acquire. Of course, I sent the table back. And waited again. It came eventually, with the side panel nice and smooth.

That lasted a week.

By the end of the week, shoes, dropped cutlery and chairs all left their marks. The table was no longer perfect. Obviously, I wouldn't return it. Could I live with this disappointment? I told myself I had no choice. So I took a dark brown, permanent magic marker and colored in all the tan spots of wood. It was still chipped, but I no longer obsessed about it. I was too busy serving meals to worry about a chipped table. And I learned how to live with something I couldn't change.

That was 20 years ago.

Our children are grown, we've moved and I ordered a new kitchen table. And waited. The delivery was delayed but it finally came. And guess what? The Formica top has two water marks on it. I noticed it right away. But I won't send this table back.

I've learned to look away from imperfections, to reduce them to dots that enhance the rest of the surface.


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